Versatility and competitiveness define Baldwin’s career
Monday, January 16, 2012
Versatility and competitiveness define Baldwin’s career
For the past four seasons Samantha Baldwin has done whatever asked of her on the basketball court. She came to Bemidji State and played point guard during her freshman season and this year she has been given the task of guarding the opponent’s post player from time to time. No matter the situation the 5-foot-7-inch senior from St. Thomas, N.D. has shown what it means to leave it all on the floor.

“You can’t really say Sam is a point guard, shooting guard, or a small forward, she is everything,” said head women’s basketball coach Mike Curfman. “She can play the 1-4 spots for us and has over her career. Sam has been fantastic in providing a great example on the floor of how to play hard and how to play with a lot of tenacity. She just has that drive, passion and personality built in.”

Baldwin has a competitive nature that has driven her to success at the collegiate level. In high school she was a 2,000 point scorer and averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game her senior year, guiding Grafton High School to a 22-2 record and a District 4 Championship. Baldwin’s determination has enabled her to find success in multiple facets of the game in college.

“In high school I was more of the go-to player,” Baldwin said. “But coming to college I was playing with a lot of good athletes, so my role changed a bit. Coming in as a freshman I was a point guard so I knew my role was to get things going and get things started for the team.

“You just have to know all the positions. This year moving down to the post and playing a bit of the four, it’s different, I just have to prepare myself mentally. I don’t care where I am on the floor, as long as I am in a position to help the team be successful.”

“The biggest thing about Sam, is not only that she a talented basketball player, but she is versatile,” Curfman said. “The background that she had coming from a basketball family really has helped her to adapt to playing many different positions, which is really hard to do.”

Despite her stature, Baldwin has an uncanny knack for rebounding the basketball. At the conclusion of her freshman season she was the team’s leading rebounder with 5.5 boards per game. Entering the weekend she has a 5.1 rebounds per game average – ranking second on the team – and has a career average of 4.5 boards per game.

“I think rebounding is a mind-set and going out there and just getting the ball,” Baldwin said. “The ball can go off the rim in any given way, you just have to be competitive and go after it.”

Now a senior, Baldwin has taken her off-court responsibilities more seriously. The 2011-12 captain has been through a lot at Bemidji State and wants to do what she can to guide the youth of the program.

“I know a lot of the girls feel comfortable coming up to me,” Baldwin said. “Being a senior this year and everything this program has gone through since freshman year, I think a lot of the girls can rely on me.”

“Sam is one of our captains and rightfully so,” Curfman said. “She is somebody the other players look up to and can go to when they have questions. Sam is very good at explaining things and helping her teammates out. She has been a great person to have around and we are really going to miss her.”

Baldwin is a business major at BSU with an emphasis in finance, but isn’t sure what she wants to do with her degree after graduation. She does come from a basketball family and was coached by both her father and aunt during her high school career, so naturally coaching has always been in the back of her mind.

“Actually a lot of people have come up to me and asked if I was going to coach and thought it would be a good idea, so I’ve definitely looked it,” Baldwin said.

“I know she is getting a business degree, but I think she has some interest in coaching,” Curfman said. “I think she would be a very good coach and I would very much like to see her go into the coaching profession because she could give a lot back to high school girls or even at the college level. Because of her background, intensity, passion, knowledge of the game and her ability I think she would do well.”

Whatever Baldwin decides to do post-Bemidji State, if she takes the same attitude, drive and passion into her endeavors as she did on the basketball court, she will find success.